Thursday, May 19, 2011

Could be some good news!

Today Gov. Rick SNYDER, Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) and House Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall) met to craft a budget deal that used about $700 million of what they called “one time money”.

With today’s deal, school per pupil cuts will only be an additional $99 on top of the $170 dollar cut carried over from last year. This $170 per pupil figure is money that was replaced with one time Federal money this past school year. The State refuses to be responsible for making up that piece of per pupil funding. With the $99 and $170 loss of per pupil funding, the total loss of school funding this year will “only be” $269 per student.

Gov. Rick SNYDER had proposed cutting schools by $470-per-pupil as part of his original '12 budget recommendation. $310 million is being put back into the K-12 school budget as part of the agreement announced today. $150 million will be given out on a per-pupil basis to districts that demonstrate "best practices”. While not definitively spelled out, it is suggested that it would include schools creating a "dashboard," bidding out non-instructional services and looking at employee benefit reforms. At this time, it appears that the Appropriations Committee will be allowed to spell out these “best practices”. However, this is a phrase Governor Snyder has used often when speaking of his plans for education. Will privatized instructional services and employee benefit reforms really be a “best practice” in educational reform?

The remaining $160 million must be used to help districts cover their retirement costs. This could be significant for all school districts because of the original 4% increase, to a total of 24% of salary the schools were to be required to pay toward employee retirement costs. How this is applied to retirement costs will need to be seen.

House Representatives Lisa Brown and Ellen Cogen Lipton were not impressed, releasing the following statement, “Our state can — and should — invest more in our schools, our children and our communities. We must also continue to stand strong against the Governor and Republicans who are forcing our children to foot the bill for an 82 percent tax break for corporations - with no guarantee of a single job.”